Khali - Khali


Year of Release: 2000
Label: SPV
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:35:00

It's interesting to see different bands playing in side projects, and members from bands doing solo projects, or even remnants of one band becoming another band. Such is the case with Khali. Khali hails from the remnants of Italy's Time Machine, minus the keyboard player and sporting singer Folco Orlandini, who sang on Time Machine's brilliant prog metal concept disc, Act II: Galileo.

The closest comparison I can make of the two bands would be something akin to the sound of Time Machine's Eternity Ends to the melodic song structures of Queensryche's Empire. The obvious production skills of one Lorenzo Deho (Khali, Time Machine bassist) make this disc sound similar in tone to Eternity Ends, and the melodic song structures and twin guitar harmonies really make a lot of this sound like a less heavy, yet still accessible version of Queensryche's Empire. It's definitely more straight-ahead than any Time Machine material, and this was the intention of the band, not to sound so progressive as Time Machine, but to be as heavy and more accessible. The result is exactly where the band wanted to go with this project.

The band consists of: Lorenzo Deho / Bass, keyboards
Folco Orlandini / Vocals
Joe Taccone / Guitars
Nick Rossetti / Drums

If you have heard any previous Time Machine, then you know what these guys are capable of. Although the Khali music isn't as progressive as TM music, the guys still have a chance to strut their stuff in a more melodic approach, yet still manage to maintain some nice heaviness due to the solid bass punch and production mixed in with the clean and harmonized guitars. Keyboards are kept to a minimum, popping up here and there as strings when needed in various places that need accenting. The drums are as solid as they are on a Time Machine disc. Nick Rossetti gets a chance to relax and take things more in stride on this disc and play in a more straightforward style. The bass, as always, is kept clean in the mix so as to be able to "hear" the bass lines as well as feel them. This is due to the obvious attention to detail that Lorenzo Deho puts into his sound. The guitar is the standout sounds here, being the driving forces of the sound, and is placed well up into the mix precisely and clean. The vocals are placed nicely in the mix too, making it easy to hear the words of each song, thanks due mostly to the accent-less style of singer Folco Orlandini. Even when the music starts to get hard driving and thick, the vocals are clear every step of the way - excellent job in the sound dept here. Lorenzo Deho has always had a hand in making great sound for Time Machine, and he has taken some of his ideas from that experience and used them to his advantage here as well.

Folco Orlandini gets to sing in a different style here. The last time you heard him singing was in a band called Mesmerize, and before that you could hear him belting out one of the better prog metal discs on Time Machine's Act II: Galileo. Here he gets to sing lyrics in a more accessible style, using his high pitched voice and style a little less to carry the lyrics forward. His almost accent-free, operatic, clean voice really helps to complement the melodic approach of Khali. The best example of what he can is on the epic "Wind Of Change" found on the Khali disc, in which his voice is used in a variety of ways, from layers of harmonies, to single voice, driving to soft, convincing to desperate. Some people have compared his voice and style to Geoff Tate, but I think that comes from his higher range tone than anything else.

Khali has come up with a real winner here. If you like Queensryche's Empire, you're sure to like what Khali has done here. It's not quite as heavy as Empire, but the song structures and guitar layers conjure up memories of Wilton & DeGarmo in their prime blasting out tunes from Empire, which Joe Taccone has pulled off nicely here. While pure metal heads may say the music is too light, and pure prog heads may be screaming for more Time Machine, those who don't mind a nice balance in between the two will have a blast with Khali. It's almost refreshing to see a band trying to find it's way through the much and back to the fun part of metal, when it was plentiful on the radio and everyone had a chance to enjoy it. I believe Khali may be the band to bring back the "fun" and accessibility in this type of music.

Reissued in 2004 as Khali - A Trip Through Cyberspace and released by Limb Music (LMP 0411-073) in conjunction with SPV (SPV CD 081-40632)

Larry co-wrote a second review with Claus Jensen, which can be found below:

THE STYLE:

Melodic metal with slightly progressive parts injected throughout.

Best described as a Millennium version of Queensryche's Empire disk, without being a real "rip-off".

The "Italian" metal element is however obvious as well, and the combination of the two genres, (Italian epic metal & US melodic semi-prog) makes it a real gem.

A melodic / semi-progressive approach to metal in the vein of Queensryche's Empire with an emphasis on melodic.

THE SONGS:

Each of the songs are a little concept album in their own... most of them deals with spiritual input in today's life - thus giving the album an over-all concept.

First song "Cyberpleasure" is introduced by the sound of a phoneline hooking up to the internet, and already there you know that this song is based around the importance in our life-time of being on the 'net. Basically this is a love-story taking place in "cyber-space", but also shows how people have found the 'net to work as almost a spiritual guide-line. Almost too true to life. A very rhythmical song, with a great pounding bass line and soft guitars to put the listener into the melodic spirit of the album. Somewhat reminiscent of what QR did with "Jet City Woman" off their Empire album.

"Another Day" is a bit more metallic than the first song, and thus reminding more of the typical progressive Italian metal, that we've become used to over the past couple of years. Lyrically a bit spiritual, as it deals with whether or not being able "to make it through the night and to see another day". This song is one of the more "dramatic" sounding songs; what comes to mind immediately is a sense of intensity and urgency. The synthesized / processed vocals give this song an added depth as well.

"Somebody Haunts Me" starts up with a more up-tempo riffing, but quickly slows down as the vocals set in. Again, a spiritual based song. The song has a great melody both through the verses and the refrain, with nice guitar-riffs and a pounding drummer. The most "commercial" sounding song on the disc, it reminds of the changes that Queensryche experienced on Empire when they switched from the heavier songs to "Another Rainy Night" style. Interestingly enough, the sound is still somewhat heavy despite the obvious catchiness at first listen.

"Wind Of Ages" is a double-headed song - or more accurate, an epic song divided into two parts with an underlying lyrical theme running through both. Starting off with a choir, sounding a bit "ancient" then followed by a very cool guitar-riff. One of the more "spiritual" songs on the disc, and the one that most represents the Queensryche influence. When the keyboards set in they have that violin-effect, that gives it an even more symphonic/epic feeling. The choirs continue. The vocals are done in a soft, yet heavily layered, way, adding to the dramatic feeling of the song. Lyrically this song is about life in general - how we look upon life in the big picture and seeing life run through "the hour-glass" day by day... The solo-section in "W.O.A. part I" is really fantastic - not too much "wanking", but more following the melody of the song. "W.O.A. part II" is a ballad-esque continuation of "...part I", with more of the great choir-orchestration and gives a very warm ending to the song.

"Spiritual Distortions" is again a more heavy oriented song, with typical - also this is the grooviest song of the album, with a perfect rhythmical based refrain. The lyrics says that we all have an empty gap inside of us, and one of the ways to "fill that gap" could be to use some "spiritual distortions".

"Heaven Again" continues in the "heavy" vein, with it's metallic intro-part with the screaming guitars that also is to be found in other Italian bands like Time Machine, before the vocals set in on top of a pounding bass-rhythm. The harmonized keyboard/guitar part at the end of the song is a typical Queensr?che-thing - putting the listener into a trance-like state before going back into the highly memorable refrain. The choirs at the beginning of the song give it the eerie feeling that the title denotes, and then turns into one of the more progressive songs on the disc. Nice rhythmic changes throughout without losing the sense of direction and then suddenly turning into a catchy chorus before shifting back into the signature sound, a mixture of melody and progression.

"So Far Away" is the final song of the album, and again it's a very rhythmical song, with a nice melody. Distorted vocals are again used to give an extra special effect to the song - perfectly attached to the lyrics as giving it almost a "crying" sound...another song that sounds "urgent", and the lyrics are really brought to the surface here in a sense of futility, as if the singer has lost all hope. The short solo-piece is a clean guitar solo moving on top of the melody of the song.

THE INSTRUMENTATION:

It's pretty obvious that we are dealing with experienced musicians who are not only skillful players but also very talented musical composers.

All music has been written by the bass player, thus making it a very rhythmical album. "Rhythm" is the essence of this album.

Vocals: The vocalist is a typical Italian singer, meaning high-pitched and with a heavy, but never annoying, accent. His vocals are really expressive and bring great feeling into the songs. He sings with a sense of urgency that is lacking in a lot of bands these days. Part of the overall enjoyment of music is hearing the lyrics brought to life, and this singer really puts his soul into the songs.

Keyboards: ... are done in a slightly "under-done" way, i.e. never used as a pure lead instrument, but more as a soft back-up for the rest of the music. Definitely NOT typical for an Italian band, where the keys often are very symphonic and huge sounding. Although the keys are back in the mix, the eerie sound of the strings brings an eerie and dramatic feeling to the music at precisely the right time.

Guitars: ... are never too soft, almost done in a more groovy rock-way than the typical melodic metal way. Again, adding to the interesting and "different" aspect of Khali, as a band tries not to sound like everyone else. The soloing is always kept at a minimum but nevertheless done so convincing that you easily notice it's a great guitarist at work here.

Drums: ... almost sounding too computerized, as they follow the rhythmic parameters set out by the bass and guitars. Never going off on their own, and never playing too progressive; thus, not the most intriguing part of the Khali-concept, but definitely well-done.

Bass: The bass is the leading instrument on the album - not as a soloing instrument, but more as the real "music-maker" of KHALI. Tons of great bass playing is put into the album.

THE PRODUCTION:

The sound is heavy and full - not over-produced as a lot of today's melodic/progressive albums tend to. More raw-sounding and almost done in a rock-ish way yet polished at the same time; a nice mixture of rawness and cleanliness.

All instruments have their separate sphere in the sound of Khali:

  • With the guitars done in a groovy/rhythmically way, not too dominant. Always melodic, never over forceful.

  • The vocals at the front and rounded up in a soft and clear sound, unless the lyrics calls for some use of distortion. Words easily distinguished for an Italian singer, clean and precise.

  • Bass and drums are pulled up to support the rhythm-guitars and not used as typical backing instruments

  • Keyboards are laid far back in the mix and are not that dominant; used for atmosphere

IN GENERAL:

The epic/symphonic elements in the music are created, not by the single instruments, but much more by the songwriting itself. The music is huge, well thought-out, and definitely "different" than what an album of today has to offer.

Through the very melodic and highly memorable songs, Khali might become a commercial success, and is exactly what the progressive metal scene has been craving for in years. The scene needs a band that can achieve commercial success, especially in markets where the often too technical prog-metal never stands a chance. The combination of melodies injected with the progressive rhythms should appeal to many listeners and give listeners a good variety of what they want in their music without taking away from any single aspect. If you enjoy the variety that Queenryche's Empire has to offer, you should easily like what Khali has to offer.


Tracklisting:
Cyberpleasure (6:43) / Another Day (7:37) / Somebody Haunts Me (5:10) / Wind Of Ages - Chapter I (9:02) / Wind Of Ages - Chapter II (2:16) / Spiritual Distortions (4:59) / Heaven Again (5:42) / So Far Away (5:26)

Bonus track on reissue 'Will You Remember' (4:02)

Musicians:
Lorenzo Deho - bass, keyboards
Folco Orlandini - vocals
Joe Taccone - guitars
Nick Rossetti - drums

Discography:
Khali (2000)
Khali: A Trip Through Cyberspace (2004) (first album, reissued w/bonus track)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

Origin IT

Added: June 27th 2000
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Hits: 726
Language: english

  

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